Who will care for our defenders?
Sir, - Bravo to Gil Kleinman for telling his story to the press ("To the rescueâ€¦ of the rescuers," April 6). As a clinical psychologist in private practice who deals with trauma on a daily basis, I have been deeply saddened to see that, often, those in the trenches, who need counseling the most, are least able to access it easily.
First responders - be they police, MDA or soldiers, young conscripts and veteran reservists - are neither encouraged nor supported by their superiors to get help or tell their story so they can move on. Rather, discussion of their exposure to traumatic events is minimized and a sense of bravado maximized. Only when these people become so desperate and need to take time off because they can no longer do their job do they finally receive help. It is certainly not built in as part of the job.
Someone must ensure that those who take care of us are themselves taken care of. The responsibility should not fall on family members, who also become victimized by their loved one's trauma.
Depression, substance abuse, marital discord, family difficulties and other mental health problems will continue to increase if we as a community take, but do not give back, support to those who daily give so tirelessly to their community. We must help shoulder their psychological needs.
BATYA L. LUDMAN
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Sir, - The latest news out of Washington scares the pants off me ("US planning strike on Iranian nuclear reactor - 'New Yorker,'" April 9).
Have our warlord leader and the Pentagon completely lost their minds? Wasn't it idiotic enough that they invaded Iraq without proof of weapons of mass destruction, and now want to satisfy the munitions industries' insatiable appetite for profit by invading Iran?
Bush himself admits that US troops will still not have a way out of Iraq during his time in office. What is it going to cost us to have to go into Iran and attempt to clean up afterwards?
The agenda: Love
Sir, - I have no agenda, no point to make, just an expression of my love for Israel. I visited Israel in March 1999 and was overwhelmed by the beauty of the land, the uniqueness of the people and the incredible history you rest on.
I am a Christian, and the spiritual uplift I received during that visit changed me forever. Reading your on-line edition recently I was flooded with this feeling of love - I actually exclaimed out loud: "I love Israel."
I am not one to have these kinds of experiences, so I felt compelled to share it.
DEBORAH P. FLINT
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